• Jasmine Mendiola

The Irony of Mio’s Life


Akalain mo, talagang may leukemia ung anak ko.


My disbelief is still sometimes the sole comic relief everyday that I wake up to the reality of this disease. The hospital walls some kind of resemble days when I’m billeted at a hotel–enjoying the oh-so-efficient assistance of the nurses is like room service, the food is excellent and the walls indeed shelter us from the cruelties of the outside world. Once I check out, its all back to how it was. And more often than not, its worse than how it is within the confines of whatever walls I came from.

At this point, I’m trying to map out how we’ll go about cancer without taking a toll on too many people. Anyone else aside from myself is a hassle already and I’m actually humbled by all the support and help we’ve been receiving from all ends. I can’t help think of who’s actually responsible for Mio. Besides myself, sino pa ba?

My family’s love may be unconditional and so is yours which makes it sweeter. I’ve received countless blessings to have people all over the world, strangers even praying for and helping Mio. Yet there is this man who lives a meter away from our house and couldn’t care less in spite of knowing that his child is stricken with cancer. Unless he doesn’t know that leukemia is the cancer of the blood much like when he declared his blood type to be C (!) when I gave birth, this is the dumbest and most evil thing that cannot be excused for simple ignorance.

The irony is, I actually believe that if Mio had this person in his life from the very start, very few of you would have known or cared for him. You see, Mio was born in the spotlight. My pregnancy though unexpected was celebrated by an entire university. Be born to a mother who was Student Council legislative, an active thespian and an officer for various school organizations in her senior year, you think you can go low profile? I had multiple baby showers, I hardly remember being sad at all. If that didn’t happen, kapos siguro kami sa dasal at mga nagmamahal.

You wanna hear something ironic again? Mio has very little idea of how many people actually know him and he’d shy away whenever he hears me talk about it. He’s actually put his foot down yesterday when he heard me talking on the phone describing his condition to a friend checking on him. “Stop talking about me, Mom!” For all he knows, when he’s probably 15 and internet savvy (although he’s already saved some websites on my laptop to log on so he can play games and download coloring pages) he can google his name and the world wide web will reveal his childhood to him.

I’ve always complained on how my parents and relatives tend to spoil my son compared to his cousins. I never wanted Mio to feel that people are over-compensating for the lack of a father but now that he has cancer, its quite a relief that he’s always had that. It wouldn’t be so hard the people around him to shower him the same affection, attention and love. And he in turn wouldn’t think that it’s all only because he’s sick.

The most baffling of all ironies is that Mio I’d bet is the healthiest kid in the world. I’m not the healthiest person what with all the smoking, drinking and the lack of sleep. But my son— he’s acquired a unique liking for organic stuff and spits out beef or pork as early as when I’d still have to mash his food; he irks at junk food and softdrinks; he’d ask to have his hands wiped off after dropping money during offertory at Sunday mass and he’d be the one to remind his yaya or me to bring him a jacket when its raining. How can this bouncing baby boy be so sick?

And how is it possible that my oh-so-dramatic life would be capped off with an epitaph-worthy title “a single mom to a leukemia-stricken boy”? That’s so wrong in so many levels. How boring can your life be compared to mine huh? Kidding. That’s a comic relief I just had to share if only to amuse you and take a break from all this ranting.

But seriously. I’m quite grateful that I have so many reasons to feel blessed and have absolutely none to come close to falling frail. I’m not saying normal mothers have it easy. Because if I had it easy, I doubt I’d be so admirable at all. On the other hand, that man (if he can even qualify as one already) has lost all hope for redemption in heaven or here on earth. Imagine, the child he denied at first, reclaimed and denied again is now stricken with cancer. He is officially the devil incarnate if this doesn’t perk up his conscience if he has one at all. So if you know him, give him a nudge because believe it or not, this is his last chance to make it up. I pushed the button when I brought the matter into court but by the grace of God, I am willing to forget all the hassle if he’d just give Mio what he deserves. This beats his need of a college fund, darling. And although I’ve said it time and again, this isn’t about you or me. This is in fact a matter of life and death for Mio.

This cancer, the bitch recently introduced in our life, has pushed him a notch down the top charts of “Things that Caused Us Pain.” And if the tramp can actually inspire and promote love and prayer in others, it sure does make me rethink vengeance and such. The tongues of fire has spoken again when I asked Mio if he’d like to have his hair shaved off in preparation for the possible side effects of chemo. He gave me the “nye!” look of his and annoyingly said he didn’t want to look like his father.

Again. I had to remind him not to speak ill of that person. He asked me why I didn’t like him. As if it was a challenge na eh bakit ikaw galit sakanya?

I reminded him that he’s sick and instead of being angry at people he should just be kind and understanding because this sickness is a practice to more painful things in life when he grows up. So he ought to let this issue go, aside from it doesn’t or shouldn’t really matter to him compared to the lurking threat this disease has over us.

“He doesn’t even come!” Mio said. What else do I have to say to that? The five year old has spoken his wisdom.

That’s one for the books today, Ladies & Gentlemen.

#Parenting

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Jasmine Mendiola

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